We have updated our median home price maps for the entire Bay Area by city, for San Francisco by neighborhood, and then specifically for the Marin, Lamorinda & Diablo Valley, and Wine Country markets. To access them, click on the map image below.
These 2 charts below are specific to the San Francisco house and condo market, illustrating median price movements since 1994. All parts of the Bay Area saw similar trends, though the percentages up and down varied significantly between markets.
A few interesting points regarding the above graphs: The year of highest percentage appreciation in the past 25 years was 2000, the height of the dotcom bubble. (However, by dollar appreciation, as opposed to percentage change, recent years have seen by far the greatest increase in prices.) When the dotcom bubble popped, SF condo prices were much more negatively affected than house prices: Young, high-tech workers play a bigger role in the condo market. And in 2016, the condo median sales price plateaued (and declined a little in some neighborhoods) while houses continued to appreciate, albeit at a much slower rate than the previous 4 years. We ascribe this plateauing in condo appreciation to, firstly, a big increase in new condo construction (more supply) and, secondly, to some cooling of the high-tech hiring boom (somewhat less demand).
Bay Area Median Price Changes
From Top of Bubble to Crash & Recovery
These next two charts illustrate BAY AREA median house prices and price trends since the market peaked in each county prior to the 2008 crash, to the bottom of the market during the 2009-2011 recession, to 2016, after 5 years of recovery. We also threw in a separate section for San Francisco condos, since they are such a large part of the city market.
Based on the charts above, this next table is a bit complicated, but for those interested, it lays out the different percentage ups and downs from pre-crash peak, to post-crash bottom, and then back up to the present. It also breaks out the recent appreciation rate from 2015 to 2016.
If all these percentages up and down are too mind boggling, jump to the charts further below in the report, with additional county market comparisons and some interesting angles on demographics.
All Bay Area markets saw large surges in home values from 2000 to 2005-2007 (illustrated in the Case-Shiller chart further below); all went through significant or even terrible declines after the 2008 financial markets crash, typically hitting bottom in 2009-2011; and all have made dramatic recoveries since. But there are big differences in how these events played out in distinct markets, with 4 main factors behind price changes over the past 16 years:
· BUBBLE: Generally speaking, the lower price ranges and the less affluent areas saw much bigger, crazier bubbles than other segments, inflated in the years prior to 2006 by predatory lending, subprime loans and the utter abandonment of underwriting standards.
· CRASH: In 2008-2011 distressed-property sales devastated the lower price segments and the areas where they predominated, and they suffered the biggest declines in home prices. When the recovery started in 2012, they began from unnaturally low points, which had little to do with fair market values. Other market segments were certainly dramatically affected as well, but to much lesser degrees.
· PROXIMITY to the high-tech boom: SF and Silicon Valley have been the white-hot hearts of economic expansion. Oakland and the rest of Alameda County were the closest, significantly-more-affordable housing options. Then, as one moves further away, the effect on home prices gradually lessened.
· AFFORDABILITY: The more affluent areas led the recovery in 2012-2014, but then the highest pressure of demand started shifting to less expensive neighborhoods, cities and counties. Amid the feverish appreciation in prices, buyers desperately searched for affordable housing options. Now, some of the most expensive markets are beginning to cool, while less expensive ones remain very competitive.
OAKLAND had a gigantic subprime bubble, a huge 60% crash, and then a sensational recovery highly pressurized by being just across the bridge from SF (and much more affordable). The Oakland median house price is up a staggering 182% since 2011, partly because it crashed so low. However, because its subprime bubble was so big, it is only 12% above its inflated 2007 price. Alameda County as a whole has experienced much the same market. Other comparatively lower-priced Bay Area markets, such as northern Contra Costa, Solano, Napa and Sonoma, more distant from the high-tech boom, saw similar dynamics, but are still somewhat below their 2007 peaks despite substantial recoveries.
SAN FRANCISCO, more expensive and affluent, had a much smaller bubble and much smaller crash with far fewer distressed property sales. The high-tech boom then supercharged its recovery: Its median house price is up 90% from the bottom hit in 2011 (much less than Oakland), but is 48% higher than its 2007 peak, the biggest increase over the 10 years of any of the markets measured. Silicon Valley has similar statistics, and other high-price markets like Marin and the Lamorinda/Diablo Valley area of Contra Costa County, saw comparable, if somewhat less dramatic, dynamics.
Additional Bay Area Market Comparisons
Bay Area Housing Affordability Index
The Bay Area is among the least affordable places in the country, but it is still somewhat more affordable than during the historic low in 2007. Interest rates play a big role in that comparison.
Interest rates changes, which have a large impact on affordability, continue to confound predictions as to sustained direction.
Selected Demographic Snapshots
A few angles on how the Bay Area is different from other places, and how Bay Area counties differ from one another.
Some local context to the political issue of immigration: The Bay Area would be a totally different place without it, much poorer financially and culturally.
All Bay Area counties have been rapidly growing in population. San Francisco in particular is very densely populated and getting more so.
Along with Washington DC and Seattle, the Bay Area ranks among the best educated metro areas in the country.
Case-Shiller Home-Price Index Trends
By Price Segment, since 1988
This chart above based on the S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index illustrates the enormous differences between the bubbles and crashes of different price segments in the Bay Area market (as alluded to earlier in this report): Notice the insane size of the bubble for the low-price tier (the light blue line) – it went up 174% from 2000 to 2006, about twice as much as the high-price tier (green line) – which then led to its staggering crash. It is interesting to note that the overall appreciation of all three price segments are now relatively similar when compared to 2000, with the low-price tier taking a small recent lead.
Note: Case-Shiller analyzes the Bay Area market by low, mid and high-price tiers, each tier equaling one third of sales. For any Bay Area home, whatever its price in January 2000, Case-Shiller assigns it a value of 100. All other values on the chart below refer to percentages above or below the January 2000 price, i.e. 150 equals 50% price appreciation since that date. Case-Shiller does not use median sales price data, but instead uses its own proprietary algorithm to reach its conclusions.
Bay Area Rents
Some rents have begun to drop in the Bay Area, especially in San Francisco due to the current boom in apartment building construction. However, the city still has the highest rents in the land.
Other recent or recently updated reports:
These analyses were made in good faith with data from sources deemed reliable, but may contain errors and are subject to revision. It is not our intent to convince you of a particular position, but to attempt to provide straightforward data and analysis, so you can make your own informed decisions. Median and average statistics are enormous generalities: There are hundreds of different markets in the Bay Area, each with its own unique dynamics. Median prices can be and often are affected by other factors besides changes in fair market value, and longer term trends are much more meaningful than short-term. It is impossible to know how median prices apply to any particular home without a specific comparative market analysis.
© 2017 Paragon Real Estate Group
The luxury real estate market is impacted by a number of factors: positively, by improvement in general economic conditions and confidence, highly-paid employment and population growth, and especially, by the creation of new wealth in large quantities. All these elements were dynamically present in the Bay Area from 2012 through mid-2015. Then significant economic and political volatility put down a damper, pretty much across the board. Chinese stock market turmoil, the crash in oil prices, Brexit, the U.S. presidential election, as well as an apparent cooling in our high-tech boom, all injected uncertainty into financial markets and our local luxury real estate market. Furthermore, Bay Area high-tech IPOs, which had created a stupendous amount of new wealth since 2011, basically dried up – and newly rich or substantially enrichened buyers had played a big role in demand. All this was accompanied by a surge in the construction of new, luxury condo projects in San Francisco, producing a considerable increase in supply, just as demand appeared to be softening.
The luxury market began to cool, with significant, but not cataclysmic adjustments in the standard measures of supply and demand. (The most affordable house segments around the Bay Area continued to rock and roll last year.) Most affected over the past 16 months was the market for re-sale luxury condos, particularly in those districts where big, new-construction projects are concentrated. Their sales appreciably decreased, with some decline in values. It is hard to get definitive data on new-project sales activity, but it is believed to have softened as well with the increase in competitive listings.
While inventory grew, the number of high-end listings, both houses and condos, expiring without selling jumped, a clear sign of supply outpacing demand, sellers looking for more money than buyers were willing to pay, or both.
However, there has been nothing approximating a crash and, all in all, demand held up quite well considering all the circumstances at play. So far, price declines have been relatively minor; there was no falloff in high-end house sales, in fact those selling for $3m+ hit a new peak last October. And some smaller and medium-sized luxury condo projects in the Pacific Heights district saw brisk sales at high prices, this being a highly prestigious area where new construction is relatively rare. Even with some cooling in the high-tech boom and the dearth of new IPOs, the local economy persists as the envy of the world, and an astonishing amount of wealth yet remains in the Bay Area.
If local companies such as Uber, Airbnb, Pinterest and Palantir go public, it could recharge demand as the new-wealth machine starts minting new millionaires once again. On the other hand, how the foreign luxury home buyer will react to political changes both here and abroad is uncertain. For that matter, with all the wildly moving parts currently in local, national and international politics and economics, it is difficult to make predictions with any sense of certainty. However, Ted Egan, chief economist for the city of San Francisco, puts the odds of a new recession at 10% or less.
Average dollar per square foot values ticked down in 2016 for both high-end houses and condos after years of appreciation, but still remain historically high. Of sales reported to MLS, 10 houses and 34 condos and co-ops sold for over $2000 per square foot; 6 sales reported values over $3000 per square foot. These sales were concentrated in the Pacific Heights district, Russian & Nob Hills, and South Beach & Yerba Buena. Average dollar per square foot values should always be considered gross generalizations, since there is such a wide variety of homes of differing locations, sizes, conditions, eras of construction, views, lot sizes, and so on. Square footage can also be measured in different ways and not all sales even report square footage.
In many of the charts following in this report, not only are longer-term trends in supply and demand illustrated, but also the extreme seasonality of the luxury homes market in San Francisco. Activity climbs through spring, slows in summer, spikes in the short autumn selling season, and then plunges during the mid-winter holiday season. Among other things, the seasonality of this segment significantly affects monthly and quarterly median sales prices in the city as the number of expensive home sales ebbs and flows so dramatically.
As noted at the beginning of this report, the price thresholds for the luxury home designation sometimes vary from chart to chart, for the reasons previously mentioned.
Monthly Sales Volume Trends
Market Dynamics Analyses
In many of the following graphs, the cooling of the luxury market in the city in 2016 is illustrated. The changes are significant, but should not be overstated: The market cooled from being characterized by overheated demand and inadequate supply, to something approaching a more normal balance between buyer and seller. So far, there has been neither a crash in demand nor in prices.
Average Days on Market by Year
Pricing, Overpricing & Expired Listings
Other recent reports you might find interesting:
It is impossible to know how general statistics apply to any particular home without a specific comparative market analysis, which we are happy to provide upon request. Please call or email if you have any questions or need assistance in any way.
*These analyses were made in good faith with data from sources deemed reliable, but may contain errors and are subject to revision. It is not our intent to convince you of a particular position, but to attempt to provide straightforward data and analysis, so you can make your own informed decisions. Median and average statistics are enormous generalities: There are hundreds of different markets in San Francisco and the Bay Area, each with its own unique dynamics. Median prices and average dollar per square foot values can be and often are affected by other factors besides changes in fair market value. Longer term trends are much more meaningful than short-term.
These charts show the breakdown of San Francisco home sales as reported to the city’s Multiple Listing Service in 2016 (as reported by 12/21/16). These analyses are sorted by city districts and neighborhoods by the number of transactions in different sales-price segments. Note that median sales prices will change every time the time period or neighborhoods included in an analysis change.
The first 4 charts are overviews for the entire city, first for house sales and the second for condo, co-op and TIC sales. Then below the San Francisco neighborhood map come the breakdowns for specific city neighborhoods and districts.
For further breakdowns of neighborhood home prices by bedroom count: SF Home Prices by Bedroom Count, Property Type & Neighborhood
San Francisco House Sales
San Francisco Condo, Co-op & TIC Sales
Home Sales by Property Type & Price Segment
by San Francisco Neighborhood & District
These 2 charts below track San Francisco luxury home sales by price range and neighborhood. In these charts, we designate the luxury segment as those condos, co-ops and TICs selling for $2,000,000 or more, and those houses selling for $3,000,000 and above.
These statistics are based upon sales reported to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).
All data herein is from sources deemed reliable but may contain errors and is subject to revision. All numbers should be considered approximate.
© 2017 Paragon Real Estate Group
This first chart is a somewhat lighthearted, but we believe accurate look at how various 2011 investments would have played out through 2016. (FB is dated from its 2012 IPO.) When calculating appreciation, purchase and sale dates are critical factors, and changing those can alter the results significantly: Using 2011, the last bottom of the real estate market, as the purchase date certainly plays to the advantage of home price increases. If you bought gold or soybeans in 2011, you really should have sold them a couple years ago at the height of the commodity price boom.
Besides the appreciation percentage noted, buying a home in 2011 with all cash would have generated large, additional financial returns in the form of extremely low monthly housing costs. Buying it with 20% down supercharges the return on cash investment, and that is before adding in other advantages: Even with an 80% loan, by 2016 your monthly housing costs, with recent low interest rates and tax advantages, would be well below market rents. Then there is the huge capital gains exclusion on the sale of a primary residence, which would not apply to other investments.
Sales of Probates, Penthouses, Fixer-Uppers, Lofts;
Homes with Views, Elevators & Wine Cellars
Long-term San Francisco Median Home Price Appreciation
San Francisco median house prices continued to appreciate in 2016, albeit, at 6%, at a considerably slower rate than the previous 4 years, while condo prices basically plateaued (and indeed dipped in some neighborhoods). As with almost everything to do with real estate values, it boils down mostly to supply and demand, as discussed below.
In 2016, the supply (and sales) of house listings in the city continued to dwindle, while a surge of new-construction condo projects hitting the market appreciably increased the inventory of condos available to purchase. In 2003, house sales in San Francisco were over 50% higher than in 2016. According to a study by the National Association of Realtors, the median time house owners are staying in their homes has jumped from an average of 6 years in 1987-2008 to 9 years since: Owners are getting older, not changing jobs as often, and baby boomers are aging in place as NAR put it. House owners sell their homes much less frequently than condo owners, who tend to be younger. In SF, there is also the factor of a reluctance to sell when that means facing a very challenging market for buyers. And with very low interest rates, and very high rents, some owners are renting out their houses instead of selling.
It all boils down to a continuing strong demand for houses meeting a steadily declining supply: Even with a market that cooled somewhat in 2016, competition between buyers continues to push house prices up, especially in more affordable neighborhoods. The equation is different for condos, which has become the dominant property-sales type in the city: A cooling market is meeting increased supply. There has been no crash in condo prices, but areas with the greatest quantity of new condo construction have seen small declines.
What Costs How Much Where in San Francisco
Below are a few of our many updated analyses on home sales and prices by neighborhood, property type and bedroom count.
House Sales & Values
As can be seen above, two of the most affordable districts for houses, Districts 10 and 2, also provide 37% of all the house sales in the city. Generally speaking, they have continued to experience very strong buyer demand in 2016.
Condo Sales & Values
District 9, a large district that stretches from SoMa, South Beach and Mission Bay to Potrero Hill, Dogpatch and Inner Mission, is increasingly dominating condo sales in the city. The great majority of new condo construction, especially of the largest projects, has been occurring in this district.
All our breakdowns by neighborhood and home size are here: SF Home Price Tables
Home Sales by Price Segment by District
Behind the overall median prices often quoted is a wide range of individual sales across a spectrum of prices. Here are a few of our updated analyses for every district of the city.
Our complete collection of district analyses: SF District & Neighborhood Sales Breakdowns
San Francisco Overview Market Statistics
The following classic measures of market heat all tell the same story: Coming out of the recession in 2011, the San Francisco market became increasingly frenzied through the spring of 2015. In late 2015, as housing affordability became a critical issue, and the local high-tech economy saw some cooling, and financial markets worldwide experienced increasing volatility, the SF real estate market began to cool and normalize. Buyer competition for new listings softened, overbidding declined, days-on-market increased, appreciation declined or plateaued, and so on. And the condo market cooled more than the house market due to issues discussed above.
2016 saw a reasonable adjustment to a desperately overheated market, but nothing that suggests, so far, an imminent, dramatic downturn. Indeed, by national standards, most of our current statistics still define a relatively robust market. In a recent interview, Ted Egan, chief economist of the City of San Francisco, put the odds of a new recession at 10% or less.
Real Estate Market Seasonality
Listing and sales activity builds from early January, the nadir of the market, into spring, typically the most active season. Accepted-offer activity provides an excellent illustration of the heat of the market during different times of the year.
3 Important Economic Indicators
San Francisco & Bay Area Employment Trends
After dropping a little in the first half of 2016, SF and Bay Area employment numbers jumped back up in the second half, an encouraging sign for the local economy.
Mortgage Interest Rates in 2016
Interest rates popped 22% higher since the election, though they still remain very low by any historical measure. Where they will go now is a subject of intense speculation since they are a critical component of housing affordability.
The S&P 500 Stock Index since 1994
To the surprise of many, U.S. stock markets also popped after the election to their highest points ever.
And now on to 2017, certain to be another interesting year.
Wishing you and yours a safe, healthy, happy and prosperous New Year.
It is impossible to know how median and average value statistics apply to any particular home without a specific comparative market analysis, which we are happy to provide upon request. Please call or email if you have any questions or need assistance in any way.
These analyses were made in good faith with data from sources deemed reliable, but may contain errors and are subject to revision. It is not our intent to convince you of a particular position, but to attempt to provide straightforward data and analysis, so you can make your own informed decisions. Median and average statistics are enormous generalities: There are hundreds of different markets in the Bay Area, each with its own unique dynamics. Median prices and average dollar per square foot values can be and often are affected by other factors besides changes in fair market value. Longer term trends are much more meaningful than short-term.
© 2017 Paragon Real Estate Group
These tables report median sales prices, average home size and units sold, by property type and bedroom count for a variety of San Francisco neighborhoods. If you are interested in data for a neighborhood not listed, please contact us. The tables follow the map in the following order: houses by bedroom count, condos by bedroom count, and 2-unit building sales. Within each table, the neighborhoods are in order of median sales price.
The analysis is based upon sales reported to San Francisco MLS in 2016 by December 22. Value statistics are generalities that are affected by a number of market factors – and sometimes fluctuate without great meaningfulness – so all numbers should be considered approximate. Median prices often disguise a huge range of values in the underlying individual sales.
Median San Francisco House Prices
Median San Francisco Condo Prices
Median Prices: San Francisco 2-Unit Buildings
These statistics apply only to home sales with at least 1 car parking. Homes without parking typically sell at a significant discount. Below Market Rate (BMR) condos were excluded from the analysis.
As noted on the tables, the average size of homes vary widely by neighborhood. Besides affluence, the era and style of construction often play a large role in these size disparities. Some neighborhoods are well known for having “bonus” bedrooms and baths built without permit (often behind the garage). Such additions can add value, but being unpermitted are not reflected in square footage and $/sq.ft. figures.
Selected San Francisco District Snapshots
Illustrating the breakdown of home sales by price segment over the 12-month period.
Our full collection of district snapshot charts is here: SF District Home Sales by Price Segment
The Median Sales Price is that price at which half the properties sold for more and half for less. It may be affected by “unusual” events or by changes in inventory and buying trends, as well as by changes in value. The median sale price for an area will often conceal a wide variety of sales prices in the underlying individual sales. All numbers should be considered approximate.
Square footage is based upon the home’s interior living space and does not include garages, storage, unfinished attics and basements; rooms and apartments built without permit; decks, patios or yards. These figures are typically derived from appraisals or tax records, but can be unreliable, measured in different ways, or unreported altogether: thus consider square footage and $/sq.ft. figures to be very general approximations. Size and $/sq.ft. values were only calculated on listings that provided square footage figures. All things being equal, a house will have a higher dollar per square foot than a condo (because of land value), a condo’s will be higher than a TIC (quality of title), and a TIC’s higher than a multi-unit building’s (quality of use). All things being equal, a smaller home will have a higher $/sq.ft. than a larger one.
Many aspects of value cannot be adequately reflected in general statistics: curb appeal, age, condition, views, amenities, outdoor space, “bonus” rooms, parking, quality of location within the neighborhood, and so forth. Thus, how these statistics apply to any particular home is unknown without a specific comparative market analysis. Data is from sources deemed reliable, but may contain errors and is subject to revision.
SAN FRANCISCO REALTOR DISTRICTS
District 1 (Northwest): Sea Cliff, Lake Street, Richmond (Inner, Central, Outer), Jordan Park/Laurel Heights, Lone Mountain
District 2 (West): Sunset & Parkside (Inner, Central, Outer), Golden Gate Heights
District 3 (Southwest): Lake Shore, Lakeside, Merced Manor, Merced Heights, Ingleside, Ingleside Heights, Oceanview
District 4 (Central SW): St. Francis Wood, Forest Hill, West Portal, Forest Knolls, Diamond Heights, Midtown Terrace, Miraloma Park, Sunnyside, Balboa Terrace, Ingleside Terrace, Mt. Davidson Manor, Sherwood Forest, Monterey Heights, Westwood Highlands
District 5 (Central): Noe Valley, Eureka Valley/Dolores Heights (Castro, Liberty Hill), Cole Valley, Glen Park, Corona Heights, Clarendon Heights, Ashbury Heights, Buena Vista Park, Haight Ashbury, Duboce Triangle, Twin Peaks, Mission Dolores, Parnassus Heights
District 6 (Central North): Hayes Valley, North of Panhandle (NOPA), Alamo Square, Western Addition, Anza Vista, Lower Pacific Heights
District 7 (North): Pacific Heights, Presidio Heights, Cow Hollow, Marina
District 8 (Northeast): Russian Hill, Nob Hill, Telegraph Hill, North Beach, Financial District, North Waterfront, Downtown, Van Ness/ Civic Center, Tenderloin
District 9 (East): SoMa, South Beach, Mission Bay, Potrero Hill, Dogpatch, Bernal Heights, Inner Mission, Yerba Buena
District 10 (Southeast): Bayview, Bayview Heights, Excelsior, Portola, Visitacion Valley, Silver Terrace, Mission Terrace, Crocker Amazon, Outer Mission
Some Realtor districts contain neighborhoods that are relatively homogeneous in general home values, such as districts 5 and 7, and others contain neighborhoods of wildly different values, such as district 8 which, for example, includes both Russian Hill and the Tenderloin.